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No. 2 Texas Awaits Tiger Volleyball

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Paola Ampudia was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the third time this season.</i>
MUTIGERS.COM
Paola Ampudia was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the third time this season.
MUTIGERS.COM

Oct. 20, 2009

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Ampudia is Rookie of the Week, Again

Match Info: No. 2 Texas (14-0, 9-0 Big 12) vs. Mizzou (12-8, 4-5 Big 12)
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 21
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Austin, Texas
Arena: Gregory Gymnasium
Gametracker: www.MUTigers.com
Series Information: Mizzou trails the all-time series with the Longhorns, 16-10, as Texas has won the last five matches, dating back to 2006. Prior to the current streak, Mizzou had dominated Texas since the formation of the Big 12 by winning 10 of 13 matches from 2000-06.

What You Need to Know
Paola Ampudia was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the third time this season as she posted 40 kills on .273 hitting and set career-highs in kills (23), digs (13), blocks (six), attacks (61), assists (three) and total points (26.5) last week. Ampudia also posted the first two double-doubles of her career last week and hit .295 with 23 kills against No. 7 Nebraska.

• Ampudia becomes the only Tiger in program history to take home three Big 12 Weekly honors in the same season.

• The Tigers are in search of their first Big 12 road win of the season as they head to Texas on Saturday.

• Mizzou collected nearly 1,700 pounds of food for the Central Missouri Foodbank during Saturday night's `Can the Huskers' promotion.

• A season-high 2,646 fans packed into the Hearnes Center to watch Mizzou's tussle with Nebraska. The Tigers currently rank No. 20 in the nation in average attendance, bringing in 1,625 fans per contest.

• Mizzou leads the Big 12 with 96 total service aces this season. Both Caitlyn Vann and Julianna Klein rank in the individual top 10.

This Wednesday
The Tigers continue their imposing stretch of Big 12 matches as they head to Austin, Texas, to take on No. 2 Texas at 6:30 p.m. The match will be the Tigers' third televised contest of the 2009 season as it will air live on Time Warner Cable-Texas. Mizzou trails the all-time series with the Longhorns, 16-10, as Texas has won the last five matches, dating back to 2006. Prior to the current streak, Mizzou had dominated Texas since the formation of the Big 12 by winning 10 of 13 matches from 2000-06. Texas comes into the match at a perfect 14-0 and has lost only five sets this season.

Last Time Out
The Tigers - due in large part to a strong effort from junior Paola Ampudia - hung tight with No. 7 Nebraska on Saturday night at the Hearnes Center. Despite career-bests from Ampudia in kills (23), digs (13), blocks (six), points (26.5) and total attacks (61), the Tigers fell, 3-1, ending their eight-match home winning streak. Ampudia was the only Tiger to post a double-digit kill total as her 23 kills were six more than any player in the match. She also hit .295 from the left side, her third-best hitting percentage of the season and posted the second double-double of her career. The Tigers won their first set over Nebraska since 2007 by claiming the third frame, 25-21, thanks in large part to nine kills from Ampudia in the set, more than any other Tiger had through the entire four-set match.

Tigers `Can the Huskers'
In Saturday's loss to Nebraska, the volleyball program collected nearly 1,700 pounds of food for the Central Missouri Food Bank as part of its `Can the Huskers' promotion.

Big Week For Paola
Paola Ampudia was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week for her effort last week, becoming the first Tiger to earn three Big 12 weekly honors in the same season. The Tiger junior posted 40 kills on .273 hitting for the week - both team-highs - and pitched in 23 digs, 10 blocks and accounted for 46.5 total points. She also posted the first two double-doubles of her career with17 kills and 10 digs at Kansas State, and 23 kills and 13 digs against Nebraska. Ampudia hit .295 against Nebraska on Saturday, her third-best clip of the season and finished just four blocks shy of a triple double in the match.

More on Paola
With her performance last week, Ampudia went from being ranked outside the Big 12's top 10 in kills per set and points per set to ranking fourth in both at 3.59 and 4.12, respectively, during league play. Her 23 kills against Nebraska are the third-best mark by any player in the Big 12 this season and the second-best total in a four-set match. Her 26.5 total points in the match also rank third by any player in the Big 12 this season. Ampudia set career-bests in kills (23), digs (13), attacks (61), blocks (six), points (26.5) and assists (three) during the week.

Start for Wendy
Junior middle hitter Weiwen Wang, who posted a season-best eight kills on Wednesday at Kansas State, earned her first start of the 2009 season against Nebraska. Wang responded by posting eight more kills, tying her top output of the season, while posting a pair of service aces, account for 10 Tiger points in the match. For the week, Wang finished second on the team with 16 kills on .244 hitting with three blocks and 19.5 total points.

Whoa, We're Halfway There
Wednesday's match with Texas will be the Tigers' 10th during Big 12 play, marking the half-way point of league play.

Quarterbacking the Tiger Attack
Senior setter Lei Wang-Francisco has posted 40 or more assists in three of her last four matches, highlighted by 43 against Colorado. Wang-Francisco currently ranks third on the Mizzou all-time assists list 4,379 and sits just 575 shy of tying Heather Gerber for second place. Wang-Francisco is a little behind pace to do so, as she needs to average around 48 assists over her final 12 matches as a Tiger. But with steady play as of late, Wang-Francisco could close that gap quickly over her next several matches.

Ace in the Hole
The Tigers lead the Big 12 with 96 total service aces this season as both Caitlyn Vann (fourth, 0.30 per set) and Julianna Klein (seventh, 0.28 per set) rank amongst the Big 12's top 10 this season. Klein has posted the most service aces in a match by a Big 12 player with her eight against Colorado while Vann's six aces against UMKC comes in ranked second overall. Catie Wilson served four against Texas Tech, the fourth-best mark in the league this season. As a team, Mizzou has served up 1.35 aces per set this season, which ranks them second in the league behind only Texas A&M. Mizzou posted a season-best 11 aces in the win over Colorado and also hit the 11-ace mark against UMKC. That mark is tops in a Big 12 best this season.

Keep on Diggin'
Junior libero Caitlyn Vann is averaging 4.46 digs per set this season as she has posted 317 in the Tigers' 20 matches this season. If the season were to end today, that 4.46 digs per set mark would rank fourth all-time at Mizzou in a single season. Vann also sits just 45 digs shy of cracking the all-time single season top 10 and is 113 digs shy of cracking the Mizzou top three in career digs as she currently has 1,193 in her two-and-a-half seasons as a Tiger.

Send `Em Back, Catie and Paola
Last week, Mizzou out-blocked its opponents, 16.0-12.0 as the Tigers averaged nearly 2.00 per set. A big reason for the improved block numbers was the play of middle hitter Catie Wilson and outside hitter Paola Ampudia, who combined to post three solo blocks and 18 block assists, accounting for 13 of the Tigers' 16 blocks. Wilson averaged 1.38 blocks per last week while Ampudia averaged 1.25.

Double-Double Trouble
Senior setter Lei Wang-Francisco has begun to show that she is one of the best all-around players in the Big 12 Conference as of late. Wang-Francisco posted her team-leading fifth double-double of the season after handing out 41 assists and collecting 11 digs against Nebraska on Saturday. She now ranks third on the team in total digs with 157, fourth in total blocks with 38 and has anchored the Tiger attack by handing out 702 assists this season.

A Season-High for Mizzou
As the Tigers looked to equal their best home winning streak in program history on Saturday against Nebraska, 2,646 fans packed into the Hearnes Center. The crowd was a season-best for the Tigers in 2009.

Staying on the Attendance Topic
The 2,646 fans that watch Mizzou and Nebraska on Saturday helped bump Mizzou's season average to 1,625 fans per match, ranking the team 20th in the nation this season. Mizzou has ranked in the top top 10 nationally in attendance from 2004-2008, prompting Volleyball Magazine to rank the Hearnes Center as one of the top-10 toughest places to play in the nation.

Unlucky Breaks
The Tigers saw some rare stat lines for them this season last week. In Mizzou's match against Kansas State last Wednesday, the Tigers actually hit a better percentage than the Wildcats at .200 to .191, but they lost the match. That marked the first time this season that Mizzou has lost a match when out-hitting an opponent; they had won the previous 12. A similar thing occurred against Nebraska on Saturday as Mizzou out-blocked Nebraska, 9-6, but lost. Mizzou has out-blocked it opponents 10 times this season, losing only two of those matches.

Scouting the Longhorns
Texas comes into Wednesday's match ranked first in the Big 12 at 9-0 in league play and 14-0 overall. Texas has lost only five sets this season and ranks second in the country behind Penn State. Texas received seven No. 1 votes in this week's AVCA poll. The Longhorns have topped eight top 25 opponents this season and are on pace to win a Big 12 title.

Texas is led by ninth-year head coach Jerritt Elliott, who has guided Texas back to a national powerhouse during his tenure. Senior Destinee Hooker, who averages a Big 12-best 4.77 kills per set and Juliann Faucette who averages 3.62 per frame anchor the Longhorn attack. Hooker was the consensus Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year and has played up to that title all season as she also averages 2.34 digs per frame and 0.79 blocks. Texas leads the Big 12 in blocking at 3.10 per set as six different players average more than 0.70 per frame.

Senior Ashley Engle moved to the setter position early in the season and ever since, Texas has been near perfect, dropping just one set since the change. Engle has 372 assists this season and has 87 kills on the season, third-best on the team. Texas leads the all-time series with Mizzou, 16-10, and has won the last five matches.

Shuttin' `Em Down
The Tigers limited their opponents to .075 hitting two weeks, highlighted by holding Texas Tech to a .035 hitting percentage, its best opponent hitting percentage in Big 12 play this season. Their previous season-best came the match prior after limiting Colorado to .099 hitting on Wednesday. Mizzou moved to sixth in the Big 12 in opponent hitting percentage last week as they have limited opponents to .180 hitting this season. Mizzou ranks fifth in that category during Big 12 matches at a clip of .167 as they have held five of their seven league opponents to below .200 hitting this season.

Relentless Attack
With 49 attacks against Kansas State last Wednesday, junior outside hitter Julianna Klein passed Gwen Mullens for eighth-place on the Tigers' career attack list. Klein now has 2,825 total attacks at Mizzou, the most among active Tigers. She also is the active leads in total service aces (69) and kills (922).

Wilson Goes Wild
Junior Catie Wilson had one of her finest weeks as a Tiger two weeks ago as she hit .750 with 19 kills, four service aces and three blocks. Wilson hit .733 - the ninth-best clip in program history when totaling more than 10 kills - with 12 kills on 15 attacks. Her .733 clip is the best mark by any player in the Big 12 in a single match this season. She followed that with seven kills at clip of .778 and four aces in Mizzou's win over Texas Tech.

`Digging' Their Way to a Cure
During intermission of Saturday's match with Texas Tech, Mizzou volleyball presented a $2,100 check to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The funds were raised as a combination of events from Mizzou's `Dig for a Cure' match against Kansas, including an online auction of jerseys and T-shirts sales along with a dollar from each ticket sold.

A Former Tiger Sees Success on the Beach
Former Tiger defensive specialist Juliana Evans (formerly Juliana Godoi) has been making quite a name for herself in the professional volleyball world. The 2003 Big 12 Defensive Specialist of the Year and former crowd-favorite won the US Open of Beach Volleyball with her partner Kim McGiven on September 27. The tournament is one of the largest in the nation and was started by volleyball legend Karch Kiraly. Evans and McGiven finished in the top five in every tournament that they played in this season during their first year together. The pair also was one of six teams in a 64-team qualifier to to advance to the AVP Open in Hermosa Beach.

Milestone for Wang-Francisco
Senior setter Lei Wang-Francisco played in her 400th career set for Mizzou in the Tigers' match against Colorado. She has now played in 413 sets as a Tiger, the most among active players and needs to play in eight more to crack the top 10 all time. A four-year starter at setter, Wang-Francisco has passed out 4,379 assists in her career, which ranks third all-time at Mizzou.

Milestone for Klein
Julianna Klein posted her 900th career kill against Colorado, the most among active players. She currently has 922.

Active in the Community
Over the past several weeks, the Tiger volleyball program has taken time to give back to community. The Tigers visited the MU Children's Hospital and mingled with children and their families for hours before their match with Texas A&M. After that, Mizzou let nine-year-old Piper Osman celebrate her ninth birthday with 20 of her closest friends inside the Tiger locker room. Mizzou also hosted a Girl Scout youth Clinic and is currently offering an elementary youth league that runs all month long. The league gives elementary school children a chance to play volleyball with Mizzou before school.

Downright Defensive
The Tigers earned their fifth sweep of the season when knocking off UMKC. In that match, Mizzou limited UMKC to only 39 total points, their best mark of the season, and limited the `Roos to -.065 hitting, their best mark since holding Alabama State to -.250 hitting in the 2006 season-opener.

Quite a Comeback
In MU's against Texas A&M, Mizzou rallied from down 2-0 to top the Aggies, 3-2, in its first five-set match of 2009. The win marked he first time since Oct. 1, 2005, that the Tigers have come back from a 2-0 deficit in a five-set match. The Tigers also limited Texas A&M to a season-low .111 hitting. A&M entered the match hitting a Big 12-best .301.

Career Night for Klein
Julianna Klein posted the 1,000th point of her career in the Tigers' win over Texas A&M on her final kill of the match. Klein has the most points among active Tigers and with 196.5 more, she will crack the all-time top 10 career point list at Mizzou. Klein also posted a school-record 78 total attacks in that match.

Return to Sender
In its win over Texas A&M, Mizzou posted a season-high 18.0 total blocks, their best since sending back 14.5 against Texas State in the 2009 opener. Senior setter Lei Wang-Francisco led the Tigers with a season-best six total blocks in the match while Catie Wilson, Weiwen Wang and Rosa Medrano each accounted for five in match.

Holding `em In Check
The Tigers had their best defensive match of the season against Texas A&M. The Aggies came into the match leading the Big 12 in hitting at .301 and the Tigers - due in large part to season-highs in total blocks (18.0) an digs (96) - limited A&M to .111 hitting, its worst output of the season. After holding opponents to below .200 hitting only five times in the first 11 matches, the Tigers have now done so in four for the last five matches. Mizzou is 9-0 this season when hitting at a better percentage than its opponents. Mizzou held UMKC and Texas A&M to a combined .055 hitting percentage, highlighted by a -.065 clip by the `Roos. That was the Tigers' best opponent hitting percentage since holding Alabama State to -.250 hitting in the 2006 season-opener.

Rookie of the Week Part Deux
Junior Paola Ampudia was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the second-consecutive week on September 21, 2009. Ampudia is the first Tiger ever to take home back-to-back Big 12 weekly honors.

A Full-Team Effort
In Mizzou's win over UMKC, every student-athlete on the Tigers' 14-player roster saw action. That was the first time this season that that has happened as two Tigers - Marissa Ferri and Lindsey Petrick - saw their first action in a regular season match this year. Ferri posted her first career dig in the third frame while Petrick entered late in the set and earned her first career solo block and registered three total attacks.

Big Night for Brit
Tiger sophomore Brittney Brimmage tallied 13 kills with only one error on 20 swings in the Tigers' four-set loss to No. 17 Utah. That stat line gave Brimmage a .600 hitting percentage in the match The .600 clip is also a career-best for Brimmage as she becomes one of only 27 athletes in school history to post a .600 hitting percentage with more than 10 kills.

Ninth Time in Ten Seasons?
Since the Kreklows took over the Mizzou program in 2000, the Tigers have appeared in eight NCAA Tournaments and have ranked amongst the Big 12 and national elite. This season will mark Wayne and Susan Kreklow's 10th year at the helm as they will look to make it nine out of 10 in 2009. The Tigers' best NCAA Tournament run came back in 2005 when they advanced to the NCAA Regional Final after topping Hawaii in the round of 16.

All-Access Video and Radio
Be sure to follow the Tiger volleyball program all season long on www.mutigers.com. The matches will be streamed live on Mizzou All-Access and KCOU, Mizzou's student radio station, will provide play-by-play of each home match over the video. Also, all Big 12 road matches will be available for radio streaming on www.mutigers.com.

Tigers on Television
Mizzou will play in one more televised match this season after playing at Texas on Wednesday. The last televised match for Mizzou will be at Nebraska on Nov. 4. The Tigers' match with Nebraska will air in Lincoln, Neb., on Nebraska Education Television.

Next up
Mizzou heads to Lawrence, Kan., for its second clash with the archrival Jayhawks. Mizzou won the first meeting with Kansas, 3-1, at the Hearnes Center.